A Chicago woman and her daughter, accused of strangling a teenage mom, cutting the unborn child from her womb and claiming it as their own, were charged with first-degree murder Thursday in the death of the infant.
The charges are piled on top of at least two dozen counts of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, dismemberment of a human body and concealment of a homicide in relation to the teen mother's death.
Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and her daughter, Desiree Figueroa, 26, allegedly hatched a plan to lure 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez to their apartment and steal her unborn baby; Clarisa's own 20-year-old son died of natural causes in 2018.
Clarisa's boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, was charged with helping clean up the crime scene.
Clarisa Figueroa told family members that she was pregnant in October -- a revelation that is said to have come as a surprise because they knew she'd had her fallopian tubes tied. Prosecutors allege Clarisa kept up her pregnancy ruse by posting photos of an ultrasound and baby nursery on Facebook, but as her fake due date grew closer, she allegedly sought out someone whose baby she could claim as her own.
Clarisa Figueroa met Ochoa-Lopez via Facebook in a group forum for expectant mothers. The two first met around April 1.
On April 23, reports say, the teen mom went back to Figueroa's house after she was offered free baby clothes.
While Desiree Figueroa showed Ochoa-Lopez photographs of her late brother, Clarisa Figueroa strangled the girl with a cable, cut the baby from her womb, placed the teen's body in a blanket and a trash bag and dragged it to the trash can outside, Cook County prosecutors contend.
Desiree Figueroa called 911, claiming that her infant was not breathing, it's alleged. The infant, Yovanny Jadiel Lopez, died in the hospital on June 14 after spending three weeks on life support.
Assistant Public Defender Vernon Schleyer, who is representing Desiree Figueroa, will seek a gag order at a court hearing scheduled for next week; Schleyer wants the victim's husband, Yovany Lopez, family and community activists to be prohibited from talking about the case, so as not to interfere with the selection of an impartial jury.
Lopez's attorney, Frank Avila, told the Chicago Tribune said that he will fight for his grieving client to be heard: “This case needs to be spoken out about, and these victims need to be heard.”